Automation has tremendous benefits that ultimately lead to higher productivity and efficiency. In a world where competition within industries like financial services is getting stiff, process automation is an appealing solution, given the efficiency gains it promises to deliver.
The financial services industry has long been known for being customer-centric. Businesses have had to use digital marketing solutions to improve customer service and experience. While digitalization has given customers more options, it has also made retaining customers harder. That's why understanding customer needs and providing personalized experiences have become critical to maintaining a competitive edge.
The marketing function of a business focuses on promoting and selling products or services using several marketing tools and strategies. The success of a marketing function depends on how well it can understand and predict customer needs to deliver value-adding products or services. This process is called market research.
It used to be the case that businesses relied solely on traditional forms of marketing. But marketing automation has changed how marketers conduct market research and organize marketing campaigns. Automation enables marketers to streamline several aspects of the marketing process. Thus, automation frequently forms part of most contemporary companies’ digital marketing strategy.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Most financial services companies are using digital tools to streamline their processes due to the world's widespread shift toward digitalization. The marketing role is no exception.
The use of digital technologies and software to automate repetitive marketing operations is known as marketing automation. These technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics. Many marketing tools and software use these technologies to optimize various marketing operations.
In-house vs. Outsourcing Marketing Automation Services: Which Should You Choose?
Financial services firms often employ in-house IT professionals who can automate marketing processes. However, it may be time-consuming to research, put the necessary software components into place, and optimize them. You would much rather have your staff attend to more important tasks that you can't automate. As a result, hiring a marketing automation expert may be beneficial.
Marketing automation agencies typically employ people with expertise in various areas of marketing. They’re always up to speed on the latest technologies. As a result, they can provide the best suggestions to help you optimize your marketing process. Nonetheless, it's up to you to decide whether to go in-house or outsource. You must assess your needs, weigh both the pros and cons of either option and then decide.
“Marketing automation in the financial services sector involves placing great emphasis on optimizing the digital customer experience.”
Why Is Marketing Automation Important?
The end goal of automating the marketing process is to improve internal workflows, customer engagement, customer retention, and repeat sales.
Currently, automation is widely used in the financial services industry. For example, they use mobile applications and websites that collect data for analytics to improve the digital customer experience. AI technology is embedded in most modern applications and websites because it allows businesses to gather accurate data. This information is then used to tailor customer interactions.
Personalizing the customer experience is vital because financial service providers have recognized the value it delivers to their clients. Customers are typically organized in segments. Segmentation makes it easier to create targeted campaigns. When you understand the needs and preferences of each segment, you can create more personalized experiences. It is where marketing automation enters the picture.
Marketing automation in the financial services sector involves placing great emphasis on optimizing the digital customer experience. It’s worth pointing out that customer experience is not the same as customer service. Customer experience differs from customer service in that it broadly entails how customers interact with all digital business platforms across various touchpoints. In contrast, customer service focuses on a singular experience (the efficiency with which your business addresses a specific client complaint, for example).
How To Optimize Marketing Automation
Marketing automation processes can be optimized to the degree that you have a solid marketing strategy. Optimizing, in this case, means getting the most from marketing automation. Here’s how companies can optimize marketing automation.
- Develop Sound Strategy
Marketing automation software may be incredibly beneficial to your business. It's not meant to replace your marketing strategy. Rather, it should supplement it. Automation is supposed to help you execute the marketing strategy with greater efficiency.
Successful marketing automation is not as simple as you might think. You should develop a strategy for effectively integrating marketing automation into your existing marketing strategy. It would help if you sought the services of a marketing automation expert to help you develop a strategy for implementing it properly in your business.
- Put Customer Needs First
It is critical to avoid falling into the trap of adopting too many digital marketing automation solutions at once. Instead, you need to put your customers' needs first. Consider whether or not this automation solution will truly benefit your customers. Determine whether it will add any more value than what is presently offered. Only invest in solutions that will add value to the end users.
- Consider System Integration
Possibly, you'll be employing different digital solutions for various functions or departments simultaneously. You must ensure that all the automation solutions you deploy can be integrated. Check for this before incorporating any digital marketing automation tools within your system and process flow.
- Measure Results
The only way to determine whether a digital marketing automation solution is effective is to measure it. For example, suppose the rate at which consumers open e-mails is fewer than the number of automated e-mails sent. In that case, this might indicate that your current strategy needs to be revised. It might also indicate that your algorithm needs to be tweaked to better accurately forecast the best time to send notifications or e-mails to customers.
- Be Flexible
Technology is ever-changing. Since the financial service industry relies heavily on technology, every entity in the industry should expect change. You may not be able to anticipate what changes will come in the future. But you should be ready to pivot or change your existing IT infrastructure when innovations emerge. For example, the marketing automation tools used now may need to be updated in five years. That's why partnering with a marketing automation expert that’s always updated on the latest technologies is wise.
Benefits of Marketing Automation
1. Reduces Dependency On Human Power
Automation makes scaling business operations possible. Keep in mind that employees can make errors regardless of their expertise. Furthermore, they cannot expend energy continuously because people are not robots.
Automation allows you to rely less on people because machines can work around the clock. It streamlines several marketing processes, allowing procedures to be carried out even when your workers are absent. It can be advantageous if you’re experiencing growth and want to scale your business.
2. Brings Cost Efficiencies
Automation often results in cost savings since it streamlines marketing processes. These cost efficiencies become more apparent at scale. That's because automation solutions are scalable.
Suppose you want to scale operations using only human effort. In that case, you'll need to hire more people, which will be more costly for your business. However, with software, altering a specific algorithm and investing in faster processors might be all you need to scale operations. Cost efficiencies are also feasible through the elimination of human error. So, it might be worth considering investing in automation solutions if you're looking to launch big marketing campaigns.
3. Helps To Streamline Communication and Data Reporting
Automation can streamline lines of communication between marketing and other departments. Suppose a financial services company uses a marketing automation system that automatically updates the customer relationship management system (CRM). In that case, employees in other departments should be able to obtain marketing data quickly. There will be no need for the sales team, for example, to directly contact marketing to request campaign performance analytics. Authorized sales managers and IT staff could gain access to the CRM and analyze the data themselves.
Furthermore, automation allows managers to produce reports in real time. That's because AI-powered automation solutions can generate reports in real-time. It means that managers no longer have to wait several hours, if not days, for their marketing teams to analyze marketing data. The system can generate insights that managers can access instantly.
4. Saves Time
Marketing automation leads to time savings since it can do some or most of the repetitive tasks of the marketing function. Tracking and updating marketing lists and CRM, reporting, e-mail marketing, and managing campaigns can be time-consuming. Automating these operations can free up a significant amount of time your marketing team might use to concentrate on tasks they cannot automate.
5. Data Analytics Helps Marketing Teams To Make Informed Decisions
Since automation allows you to generate timely reports, it allows marketing teams to create campaigns with proper brand messaging. Data analytics enables them to understand customer needs and preferences. It allows them to make more personalized marketing campaigns. Furthermore, data analytics tools may help business teams use or apply models like propensity scores and other predictive algorithms. It can help financial service providers optimize digital customer experiences.
6. Helps To Maintain Customer Relationships
Customers are arguably an essential part of your business. It is particularly true for companies in financial services. That’s why investing in CRM is vital if you’re in that industry. Automation helps to maintain customer relationships because AI and ML can better monitor and analyze customer behaviors. This information can then be fed into the CRM for marketing teams to analyze and optimize the customer experience.
Another excellent example of how automation helps is the use of chatbots. Chatbots are programmed using natural language processing (NLP) algorithms, enabling them to develop appropriate responses to customer inquiries. This technology is by no means perfect. But it’s advantageous because it can be active 24/7. Plus, you can use chatbots on several social media platforms. It makes reaching your business easier for a customer, which may improve the customer experience.
7. Generates Leads
Several aspects of marketing automation contribute to lead generation. You might optimize your website such that people receive notifications regarding the content they're seeing on a specific page of your site. You might also generate new leads by sending relevant material to new subscribers. Also, develop and optimize the landing page to ensure it makes an excellent first impression.
8. Improves Lead Nurturing
Automation allows you to monitor and evaluate your leads with greater efficiency. Because you could use AI to improve data analytics, you could have more significant insights into the leads your business is receiving. This data could then be used to devise strategies to nurture your leads more efficiently. The goal is to have a high lead conversion rate. So, a low conversion rate indicates that the lead nurturing process needs to be optimized.
Similarly, automation helps with lead magnets. Lead magnets are vital because they can help you establish several successful automated marketing procedures when closing deals with a lead. It will enable you to generate an accurate profile of customers and create personalized content. It, in turn, helps to improve the customer experience.
9. Ensures Compliance
The financial services industry is one of the most heavily regulated. In light of this, compliance management is also crucial for marketing campaigns. When managing or organizing repeatable marketing programs, marketing automation will assist you in maintaining compliance.
If you run multiple campaigns, you shouldn't worry about compliance whenever you want to launch one. You can simplify compliance monitoring by programming your marketing automation solutions to uphold financial compliance regulations. Once you've established this system, you'll only need to obtain permission from your legal team to guarantee that all of the disclosures and statements in your campaign are legal.
Marketing Automation Strategies
1. Automating Content Production
Content marketing is a great way to improve visibility and engage your customers. Therefore, content creation is a great way to develop customer loyalty, provided you’re publishing relevant content. The great thing about this is that you can automate content production with AI. Even though this technology isn’t quite well polished yet, it’s surprisingly good at writing content.
But it would be best if you aimed to continuously provide your customers with valuable content on your website and other online platforms. For example, if you’re a credit lending institution, make it a habit to create informative content to upload to your website and social media pages. You may even send emails to your customers informing them about pertinent topics, such as how to obtain a loan or maintain good credit.
Furthermore, content marketing is an opportunity for you to show what goes on behind the scenes in your business. It’s also great to give customers a sneak peek of upcoming exciting projects. You can also use videos to appeal to a specific audience or segment for which you’re launching a product. For example, if you’ve recently launched a facility where small business owners can apply for loans, a great way to spread awareness is to create a video advertisement.
Also, include storytelling in your content strategy because it can be a powerful tool for motivating people to take action. It can appeal to people's emotional side, giving the impression that your business understands their problems. It puts you in a good position to act as a need meeter through whatever product or service you want to launch.
2. Optimize Digital Customer Experience Using AI and ML
Financial services providers should make improving the digital customer experience a priority. Whether it's a website or mobile application, you want to ensure that the experience is snappy, navigable, and usable. Users must be able to visit your website using their mobile device, laptop, or tablet while receiving a consistent user experience on every device. It necessitates that you do sufficient web optimization to ensure a great user experience.
The truth of the matter is that the world has become digital. Therefore, it’s become increasingly important for businesses to improve digital customer experiences. To optimize digital customer experience, you need to use AI and ML to track and predict customer behaviors. It allows you to know what customers want and what they want to buy. You can then craft a tailored experience to meet the customers' needs, likely generating customer loyalty.
3. Embrace Social Media
Establishing an online presence in today's highly digitalized world is critical. Since social media has a huge audience, it makes sense from a marketing standpoint to invest in it. The bigger the audience, the better the odds of reaching new customers. Social media also aids you in maintaining contact with and promoting engagement with your existing customers.
You can use social media to share videos, images, and other relevant content that people can like, repost, comment on, or share. Social media is also an excellent place for addressing customer issues or complaints. Moreover, you could also integrate your profiles with chatbots that customers can communicate with 24/7. Keep in mind that customers value responsiveness. So, chatbots could help to improve the digital customer experience
4. Automate Email Marketing Campaigns
Automation allows your financial services company to send personalized emails to the right customers at the right time. It allows you to collect data that you can use to improve the customer experience. You can also use this data to assess the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns.
Email marketing campaigns can either be triggered email (based on user behavior) or automated drop email campaigns. To get the most out of your email campaigns, include both types. Ensure you choose a user-friendly marketing automation tool to run your marketing campaigns.
5. Leverage Data Analytics To Segment Your Market
Organizing your data sets is important. It will help when reviewing customer data to create customer segments. Customer segmentation is essential since financial service companies frequently offer various solutions tailored to a particular clientele. Data is critical in helping you better understand your clientele. Sorting data sets manually can be challenging since you risk omitting important information. But this is why CRM is essential.
Advanced CRM systems can collect customer data automatically. It makes tracking user activity easy because the system records every time a user interacts with the system. These systems also include data analytics features that enable businesses to better understand their audiences. You want to ensure that your CRM is integrated with the rest of your system and serves as the primary source of client information.
6. Use SMS Marketing Automation
SMS is a fantastic way to keep in touch with existing customers. However, it helps with lead generation if your company wishes to conduct targeted marketing efforts. SMS is effective because it reaches clients directly. Emails can often get lost in the spam folder. However, this is never the case with text messages.
Automation is the key to efficient SMS marketing. There are various tools to select from. These allow you to run marketing campaigns and track key performance metrics easily. Some SMS automation solutions enable you to simultaneously send messages or notifications to several recipients. You may even run multiple campaigns at the same time. Most systems include a dashboard that allows you to monitor and quickly assess engagement rates.
7. Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the way to go if you want to increase traffic organically. Because websites have become a vital marketing tool, optimizing a site for search makes your business or brand more visible online. The higher your website is ranked by search engines, the more traffic you will be able to generate. As a result, SEO should be a top priority, particularly for smaller companies in the finance sector. SEO is not as easy as you think. Therefore, partnering with or hiring experts to optimize your website is always best.
The world increasingly relies on IT and digital services accessible via the Internet of Things (IoT). The financial services industry is no exception.
Marketing automation is a trend that will remain crucial to the financial services industry. That's because automation allows these businesses to rely less on people by automating repetitive tasks. Machines and computers are better at doing repetitive tasks and make fewer mistakes. Plus, they can work around the clock.
But you should note that marketing automation is not intended to replace marketing strategy. Its purpose is to supplement it. When implemented correctly, it should lead to improved processes and internal workflows. It should lead to better customer relationships, streamlined communications, repeat sales, and improved efficiency.